Appraisal Video: (3:12)
Furniture, Paintings & Drawings, Prints & Posters
Los Angeles Modern Auctions
APPRAISER: How long have you had this cabinet?
GUEST: Just... probably about four years. We bought it from a dealer in San Francisco.
APPRAISER: And are you a collector of this type of furniture?
GUEST: Yes, we have a household full of French and English Art Deco.
APPRAISER: How long have you been collecting?
GUEST: Probably about ten years.
APPRAISER: About ten years? Well, this cabinet has, for a long time, been referred to as an Art Deco-style bar. More recently, people are starting to reevaluate the term "Art Deco." Art Deco really was a predominately French style from 1925 to about 1935, and a lot of these pieces that have the streamlined, very distinctive shape, fell into that category for a long time. But now we're starting to call it "Streamlined Design." The most distinctive part of this bar is what's not there: there's no ornamentation; there's no cornices; there's no trim; there's no molding. Everything about this piece is reduced in shape, except for one thing, and that's the glitz. So you've got this very shiny, high lacquered finish, which is not the original finish, and on the interior, you have a really bright, shiny chrome and mirrors, and you have this tremendous contrast between the dark and light wood. The wood here is probably a tiger maple veneer. And the dark wood, it looks like a rosewood, but it's actually probably a walnut veneer that has been cut to make it look like a rosewood. The function, obviously, is a bar cabinet. We have a, uh, area here to put the glasses and bottles and a locked cabinet underneath, and a counter space where you can actually pull a barstool up. This type of thing wasn't an important piece of furniture in the home in the 19th century, but in the 20th century, it became an important centerpiece of a room, to have a bar cabinet. I did a little bit of research on the maker, Maurice Adams, and Maurice Adams, uh, left England in 1940 and came to America. Before he left, he sold all of his stock at auction at Phillips in London, and there's a catalogue of that sale and this cabinet, I believe, was in that catalogue. So we can actually trace this particular cabinet back to that 1940 sale. It was probably new at the time, so I'm going to put a date of 1939 on it, and you have what is now called, in London anyway, Mayfair Modern. Mayfair was the area where the glitziest and glamorous deco furniture was sold. In my research on Maurice Adams, I found several other cabinets that have labels on them, and in fact, yours has a label on the back that gives his location of Portman Square, which is really kind of in the middle of Mayfair, right where the wealthiest clients would have been looking to buy this type of furniture in the late '30s. The condition of this one is not great; it's been refinished. There's a few patches showing through from old repairs. There's a lemon-peel finish that we typically see on furniture refinished in the '80s and '90s. How much did you pay for it?
GUEST: About $8,000.
APPRAISER: Because of the condition, in today's market, um, I actually found an almost identical one for sale for £4,500, and that translates today to $8,165. So about $8,000. So you paid the current market value.
GUEST: That's fine.
APPRAISER: If you keep it in good condition, hopefully it increases over the years.
GUEST: That's wonderful.